November 20th, 2006

iggy pop amazing abdomen

mahna mahna (doot doot do doot do)

Off to lunch in a minute, but first a GIP (which is all stillsostrange and feyandstrange's fault), and a plate of narcissistic link salad.

Blood and Iron reviews and mini-reviews (some spoilers):

http://ellarien.livejournal.com/233258.html

http://gemerson.livejournal.com/8957.html

http://newsletter.austgate.co.uk/2006/10/blood-and-fire-elizabeth-bear.html

http://larinzia.livejournal.com/410194.html
(oops. word rep. ahem.)

http://kgbooklog.livejournal.com/47370.html


The Chains that you Refuse mini-review (just above the photo of the cute girl):

http://come-love-sleep.livejournal.com/67249.html


Worldwired Canadian commentary:

http://bernitaharris.blogspot.com/2006/11/canada-eh.html

whew.

Sushi now!
bear by san

I'm all lost in the supermarket. I can no longer shop happily.

arcaedia and casacarona and I just finished a flurry of phone calls and emails, enabling me to announce:

The three-book Norse-steampunk-noir-periapocalyptic-romantic-!New Weird-high/low-fantasy series (Not really a trilogy, as it's three stand-alone novels closely linked) collectively known as the Edda of Burdens (All the Windwracked Stars, By the Mountain Bound, and The Sea thy Mistress) will be forthcoming from Tor in hardback, most likely starting in 2008 (at a wild guess.)

Even more exciting, for me anyway, if those do okay, it'll give me a reason to write Between the Bones, and eventually A Treachery of Princes and A Confusion of Angels and A Murder of Kings. Assuming, of course, that any of these things keep their titles.

That's it, guys, my dance card is full. Assuming all goes well, I am officially booked through 2010.

.

bear by san

ride their fathers' magic carpets made of steel

You know that thing I keep saying like a broken record (there's an expression that's on its way to becoming as dated as "hoist on his own petard), how writing is like everything else?

It's got a surprising amount in common with gitar pickin', too. Specifically, arcaedia was here for a couple of hours this afternoon (I took her out for sushi to celebrate, though I probably shouldn't say that, or all the agents will be expecting their clients to feed them) and she asked me to mutilate a couple of songs for her. So I did, more to show off the guitar than any presumed talents of my own, and she (she plays piano) mentioned that piano was easier, because you can see your hands. And I explained, no, actually, the trick with guitar is *not* to look at your hands, but let the muscle memory tell you where to put your fingers. And then I demonstrated, by playing somewhat better with my eyes closed.

And it occurs to me that this applies to writing too. So much of it is drill--teaching yourself through repetition and self-correction (which is what editing is, really) what to do and what not to do. (And it's just as easy to reinforce bad habits as good--which is one of the reasons I think reading slush is bery useful for aspiring writers, because that whole denial thing we do ["Oh, it works when *I* do it"] doesn't hold up to repeated exposure to other writers making the same amateur mistakes.) And the thing is, in some ways, it really is easier when you can internalize those skills enough that you don't have to watch yourself doing them. In other words, when you don't have to constantly look at yours hands.

(One of the tricks to juggling, by the way, is also not to watch your hands. You watch the apex of the balls' arc.)

Anyway, I was just muddling through "City of New Orleans" for the third time tonight (my neighbors must love me) and I emailed truepenny to comment that my love for that song knows no bounds, despite the fact that there are several chord changes I just bloody skip right now, because Bm? Not so much happening any time in 2006. And I said something to the effect of that I was cheating like a cheatery cheating cheater, and she replied:

"Hey, you cheat until you're good enough not to have to."

And I realized, yanno, that goes for writing too.

There's a way you keep improving at anything, which is to keep aiming just a little beyond your ability. To keep trying to do things that are too hard, in other words. Pushing your limits.

On the other hand, if you stay on the edge all the time, it gets a bit frustrating. And you never actually accomplish anything. It's important sometimes to just play, even if you kind of suck.

Or more than kind of, really. And to find ways to circumvent your shortcomings. Even if it's just plain not playing the damned barre chords just yet.

So that's what I learned today.